Miscellany · Motherhood

A Breath Of Fresh Air

School has been officially closed since March 17. Here in Ohio, we’ve been staying at home and social distancing since March 23.

Not surprisingly, we’re all a little tired of it.

But, of course, we are all doing our best to make the best of it, and we take our social responsibility seriously. The kids have been such troopers (and so have I, if I do say so myself), but there is still a limit how much playing with siblings in the yard (or, more to the point, in the house because the weather has not been cooperating) a kid can take.

And there is a limit to how much fighting, bickering, finger-pointing, tattling, yelling, complaining etc. a Mommy can take.

My kids are great! But they’re normal kids.

And in addition to the non-stop parenting that I am getting to do (I love my kids!), I am also completely inundated with housework and chaos and just all the stuff that is usually in my life, without any of the previous down time. Plus running a homeschool on top of it all!

Now, I know that I am beyond fortunate. We are healthy. My husband still has his job. We’re not worrying about losing our home or not being able to put food on the table (though we are starting to run low on toilet paper, ha). So, truly, when looking at the big picture, I don’t have much to complain about.

But the relentlessness of the current situation can really serve as a pressure cooker unless steps are taken to engage in some self-care. But where, oh where, in the punishing schedule of the day can I find time to nurture myself?

This past Sunday was the one Sunday a month that Raphael wasn’t scheduled to work, and we had agreed that I would be take the day and go somewhere by myself and just . . . do nothing. Decompress. Refresh. Relax. Take the edge off.

I had been planning to to Edgewater Beach (no pun intended!) and just sit on the sand with a book. For hours.

Good plan, right?

Enter the weather.

The forecast was looking bleak, but I was hoping this would be just another time that my weather app was unreliable. Alas, the app was correct. The weather was miserable.

It was 44 degrees out, rainy, windy, grey, bleak. Typical Cleveland in April. Not a day that was all that inviting to go and spend at the beach with a book.

I dragged my feet. I stayed in my pajamas for a while. I tried to not do things like housework or parenting, but, of course, that plan was doomed from the start.

The only way I was going to relax was if I actually left the house (while of course practicing proper social distancing!). So I did. I went to the beach.

The weather was miserable, but it was still quite refreshing to just walk around outside by myself (and I was mostly by myself, there weren’t that many people outside because, you know, the weather).

No one else on the path was wearing a mask, which I found a little unnerving because it made me more self-conscious about wearing my mask, which was uncomfortable (both the mask and the self-consciousness about the mask). I tried to keep it on at first, but as I started walking more briskly, I found it hard to breathe, so in the end I took it off. Maybe that’s why no one else was wearing one. But it did make me feel more exposed and less safe, so I’m not sure what to do about that in the future.

In addition to that refreshing excursion, I’m also trying to do a small amount of creative work each day. It’s not realistic to do much more than the smallest amount (for instance, I’ve been trying to write a blog post since Sunday and this is the first time I’ve actually been able to do it) because I either don’t have time or energy or mental clarity.

But I saw this Instagram post by Meir Kay last week which, at first glance, made me feel very angry and defensive (as you can tell by my comment), but then, I realized that I would probably feel better if I did prioritize, to the best of my ability, some creative work (as you can also tell by my comment).



Essentially even though I don’t have time, or energy, or headspace to do creative work, I should still do it because I need it to refresh myself and give myself that boost of energy that I get when I create something. Even something as mundane and ostensibly simple as letting you all know how much I appreciated having the opportunity to refresh myself, physically and mentally.

What are you doing to stay refreshed in this upside-down time?

11 thoughts on “A Breath Of Fresh Air

  1. Lockdown hasn’t been so different for me, at least not now Pesach’s over (Pesach without my sister and brother-in-law was weird, and difficult for my parents). I’ve been unemployed for most of the last year, so sitting at home all day isn’t unusual for me. I live with my parents, so I’m not by myself. Mum is having chemotherapy, so I’ve been doing more cooking. But lockdown has been noticeable more in food shortages than anything else. I feel a bit like I’ve avoided the problems other people have… and a bit like I’ve been living with them for years already

    As for creativity, I’ve written a short story since lockdown started and I am trying to push myself to work on my novel. I feel I should be working on it a lot, but I don’t have the energy, and I feel I need to devote time to housework, religious stuff (Torah, davening) and so on. Funnily enough, I don’t actually find creativity refreshing. More like something inside me that I need to release – I guess like sneezing as much as anything else!

  2. Here, refuses to be creative-shamed. I am not creative. I never have been. Occasionally I do synthesize some observations and ideas into ..something..practical. I am good at practical and doing a task well. Creativity is not my strength and I no longer let that bother me. I greatly admire those who can see and do things beyond the confines of the immediate. But that is not me. And that is ok. Maybe even great, considering some of the other things I have done. Enjoy. Do well :)

    1. I LOVE this attitude!! Being practical is a necessary and beautiful thing. I love practicality. And I love your self-acceptance. That is more important than any specific trait or ability, I think.

  3. I hear you about the masks, I was tempted to take mine off in both Walmart and post office, but I resisted (taking it off outside is something else, I think). I am concerned it’s going to get harder as it gets hotter.

    1. Not sure if this helps, but neither do I like masks. They really are for temporary use for a specific purpose. The elastics irritate and stretch out, catch on hair,, they get soiled, they compress around the mouth and do not protect the sides of the face from anything settling or weird suntans. Nor do I want to wash my face every time I re-enter.. so I just wear a polyester microfiber bandana. Yes, cowpoke and bank robber style! Think these guys refined the style! Gives full protection and yet there is unfussy ease for the face and mouth, they pull up to sip a drink in your car. Protects from sun so we do not get demarcations from that. Here that is a big issue. The same size square can easily be done from any fabric. Polyester microfiber is a bit stretchy and lightweight, too boot. Also the tube format of synthetic sport sun protectors works well. And hand washed and dry within a few hours. I just clip mine on the back of the lawn chair so they are ready to go.

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